Published on February 27, 2014 | by Emma Francis1
Run Dem Crew: The new generation of runners
Run Dem Crew (RDC) are the coolest running club to hit London – although, they insist they are not a running club but instead a running community.
Founded in 2007 by DJ, writer and poet, Charlie Dark, as an alternative to traditional running clubs, it’s centralised around creativity with people in professions such as designers, directors, journalists, teachers and musicians being a part of a running crew.
“The Run Dem Crew is basically a very large collective of friends, associates and family who meet once a week to run through the streets of London under the cover of darkness,” says Dark.
Lawrence Lartey, an associate lecturer at LCC and creative director at Question Media Group, has been running with RDC for four years. Lartey says he prefers to run with them rather than a traditional running club: “I love the social aspect of meeting up with people, running and then going for a burger after…you feel like you’ve deserved a burger after five miles.”
Run Dem Crew are committed to change and want to see the best from the next generation, by working closely with young people across London providing and mentoring and advice. RDC helps young people to explore the streets of London in a safe and positive environment.
The group expects all of the runners to actively engage and support the younger members; they insist giving back in any way ensures the longevity of RDC. This creates a family feel that you wouldn’t get at your average running club.
Lartey has a passion for mentoring and explains what supporting the younger runners involves for him personally: “With the youngers it’s a case of checking in with them and vice versa; more specifically, I’ve been talking to some of the runners about the career choices now they’ve finished uni.”
Not only do they support the younger members, but they also hold post-run workshops, films and talks at the Nike 1948 store which the RDC use as their meeting point – the venue is a short distance away from UAL’s London College of Fashion.
Anyone is welcome to join the Run Dem Crew, and they have different level groups based on ability. “The first rule of Run Dem Crew: no-one is ever left behind,” states their website.
The Tortoise group is for those that want to improve their running ability but are just starting out. If you’re not a gym bunny, then running once a week on a Tuesday evening will be enough to get you started.
The groups then build up in skill and endurance levels; the next stage from Tortoise is the Hares, then the Greyhounds, followed by the Cheetahs, and lastly the elites group for those who laugh in the face of a 10km and can complete a half marathon in 90 minutes or less.
“The reason we have five groups is so that you are never running alone, and you are always running around people who are at your fitness level,” explains Dark.
Running has many benefits, especially for a student; a 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health proved that just 30 minutes of running during the week for three weeks boosted sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day.
Running with a community like the RDC could also be a fantastic networking opportunity.
If you want to get involved with the Run Dem Crew, it’s best to do a bit of training first as they ask that you be able to run for 40 minutes or at least five miles before joining. The crew is so popular that they have now reached full capacity so currently no new members can join.
However, the new season begins in late February, so if you think you’ve got the commitment and ability required for the Run Dem Crew then sign up to their mailing list.